5 One Piece characters who are more popular in Japan (& 5 who are in USA)
Being an internationally acclaimed series, One Piece’s popularity as a series and for each of its characters varies from country to country. This is entirely understandable, as different cultures and regions are more likely to connect with certain One Piece characters than others.
The United States and Japan, in particular, seem to feel very differently about certain One Piece characters. Some can be attributed to who the characters are or the values and personalities they’re based on. Other differences in popularity are due to cultural differences.
Here are five One Piece characters who are more popular in Japan and five who are more famous in the USA.
Note: This article is written with the author’s opinions in mind rather than a definitive, factual list.
Nami and four other One Piece characters more popular in Japan
1) Monkey D. Luffy
Monkey D. Luffy’s journey throughout One Piece has led to him becoming one of the most internationally famous and acclaimed protagonists in all of fiction. However, his home nation of Japan seems to be where he’s most popular.
He consistently ranks number one in Japanese popularity polls. His character is also clearly influenced by the myth of Sun Wukong, similar to Goku from Dragon Ball. This influence from a significant Asian myth solidifies his popularity in Eastern countries.
2) Roronoa Zoro
As a samurai, Zoro is immensely more popular within Japan’s borders than without. His swordsman demeanor, style, and approach are incredibly similar to that of ancient, feudal Japan-era samurai.
Beyond this, his moments of comedy juxtaposed with his memorable, leader-like moments create a do-it-all character for Japanese fans. Him consistently ranking second place in the nation’s popularity polls further emphasizes his popularity.
Japanese fans typically view Nami as one of the most significant additions to the Straw Hat crew. Her presence in early One Piece was incredibly endearing to Japanese fans, solidifying her status as one of the best characters in their eyes generally.
She consistently ranks inside the top five for popularity polls, typically taking third place. All of this combines to solidify her superiority in the eyes of Japanese fans of the series.
4) Nico Robin
The Russian influence on Nico Robin’s overall character design is one of the primary reasons for her popularity with Japanese fans. The two countries are eerily close together, with the indigenous Ainu people of Japan being somewhat of a genetic bridge between the two groups.
Robin’s presence in the story serves as a reminder of real-life cultures in the land of Japan. Such a dose of reality helps endear characters to fans and remind them of their real lives.
Finally, Kaido’s appearance and envelopment of many classical Japanese and Chinese myths are a massive attraction to the character for Japanese fans. Chief of this list is his Devil Fruit, which embodies the Golden Koi Fish legend of Chinese culture.
Beyond this, his character design resembles an oni, a type of ogre/demon in Japanese folklore and mythology. Combined with his residing in Wano, which itself is rife with references to Japan, it’s no wonder why Japanese fans are so fond of One Piece’s latest antagonist.
Sanji and four other characters more popular in USA
As seen in One Piece, Franky’s character and persona are based on the American lifestyle, further endearing him to American fans of the series. His obsession with cola, favorite food being cheeseburgers, and general over-the-top personality and sayings all endear him to American fans.
Additionally, his being somewhat handy further endears him to American fans who typically take pride in similar aspects of their own personalities.
Similarly, Usopp is also reasonably handy in various carpentry-esque areas, endearing him to American One Piece fans. His constant bluffing and lies serve as great comic relief to American fans, whereas some Japanese fans consider it distasteful due to cultural differences.
Finally, his overall demeanor and desire to be strong but always becoming fearful seems to resonate with American fans uniquely.
Sanji’s often excessive obsession with women seems to be an endearing quality in the eyes of American One Piece fans. This has to do with its pairing of his respectful, chivalrous side of him, which fans also see throughout the series.
Finally, his being a chef likely piques the interest of American fans in him as a character, given that American television is near-constantly flooded with cooking shows of all kinds.
4) Tony-Tony Chopper
Tony-Tony Chopper’s character design is incredibly cute and one of the most endearing factors to American One Piece fans. His role as a doctor also does this, with the profession being one of the most highly respected in the United States.
Finally, his innocent love for cotton candy and sweets resonates with American citizens, where the average adult eats eight pounds of candy a year.
Last but certainly not least, Blackbeard seems to be much more popular stateside than in his native country of Japan. American One Piece fans typically tend to love antagonists more than their Japanese counterparts, as seen with Donquixote Doflamingo during the Dressrosa arc.
His mysterious background, nature, motives, goals, and objectives endear him to American fans, who love a mysterious villain much more than a villain.
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This article was modified on Tuesday, June 27, at 16:32 pm.